Derek Schreiber was a man of many talents and used those talents to bring glory to God. Derek had a passion for music and led the Shiloh praise team. In addition to playing guitar and singing, he also wrote songs and recorded two albums. He was heavily involved in the audio-visual ministry at West End Christian Reformed Church, Edmonton. He was integral in setting up live stream capabilities for West End, which has been a blessing to the community during this pandemic. He even took a week off in early August to help move the AV area to the back of the church. Other talents included wood working and painting.
Derek was gifted in labour relations and worked for 29 years as a Provincial Representative for Christian Labour Association of Canada (CLAC) representing members involved in retail, construction, manufacturing and health care including leading CLACs single largest bargaining unit in Alberta, Save on Foods. Ryan Timmermans, Regional Director, described Derek as “working hard to create a positive relationship in the workplace.” The common theme though Derek’s life was that he brought a confident presence into challenging situations. He was well spoken, used humor often and could always be counted on to bring forward a different opinion. He was someone people went to, he was a teacher, he became a mentor. He had a strong sense of justice, and a sharp legal mind. He was CLAC’s first appointed member of the Alberta Labour Relations Board which he joked “allowed him to play lawyer without having to pass the bar exam”. Prior to his passing, Ryan asked Derek what kept him coming back to work every day and he indicated it was “the knowledge that I am making a difference in people’s lives even if they don’t realize or appreciate it.” One of his favorite things was seeing members flourish in their workplace after helping them after they got into trouble. His colleagues and members he represented described Derek as practicing “integrity filled advocacy” having the best interest of the employee, the company and the union at heart and genuinely wanted all three to be successful. He became a strong advocate of mental health and trained in that area even before it was regularly talked about.
I got to know Derek well during our annual golf trip to Invermere where he wowed us with his cooking prowess. Derek & I shared a love for Tim Horton’s coffee, and I enjoyed meeting with him during my work transition in 2016 while he was battling with something much bigger, lymphoma. He recovered and continued to make a difference.
At the age of 54, Derek passed away peacefully from cardiac arrest on August 26, 2020. He was “one of the good guys” and will be missed. We take comfort that we will meet again. Sincere condolences to his wife, Jane, his family, friends, and colleagues.